Deleting your ex's number from your phone can be really hard to do. There's just something that feels so final about it. It's sort of like once you hit delete, you’re basically admitting that it's over for good. Needless to say, taking that step can sometimes be a lot harder than you might expect. But why should you delete your ex’s number after a breakup, anyway? If it's so hard, why do people do it? Well, while erasing an ex's contact can be painful, I've always been a firm believer that when the relationship is truly over (and you've gotten all your stuff back), it's time to clean house — contact list-wise. There's just something cathartic about hitting delete on an ex's number. In some cases, it's the only real closure you can hope to get, so I say: Embrace it!
Truth be told, I can be a bit cut and dry when it comes to breakups, so I reached out to the experts to get their takes. Turns out they agree, because saying goodbye to their phone number is an important step in saying goodbye to your ex and moving forward with your life post-breakup — in part because it’s a symbolic gesture of closing the door to the past, but also because it makes it just that much harder to drunk dial them later in a moment of weakness. No judgment, we've all been there! Here's how the experts say to handle this bittersweet situation.
Like in all things related to relationships, timing is important. Yes, that even includes when you should delete your ex’s contact info. “If the relationship was unhealthy, you have to delete their number immediately. Don't hesitate, just delete. Your weakest moments will be right after the breakup, and it's in those weak moments that you risk going back to them,” says Gordon.
While it feels like a final move, according to Leckie it’s actually more of a first step. “[Delete their number] as soon as you know that the relationship is 100 percent over. Psychologically it is the first step in accepting the breakup and moving on. A huge part in letting go,” says Leckie.
The good news is both the experts agree that once you delete the contact, you’re on your way to healing and bigger and better things. “You have to accept that the relationship is over and begin to move on, instead of hanging onto crumbs because you are attached to the other person and fearful of not having them in your life anymore,” says Leckie.
Gordon agrees. “Delete their number, let them go, and allow them to find someone who is right for them — just like you will find someone who is right for you,” she concludes.
My advice: Don't look at deleting the contact out of your phone as losing something. Instead, think of it as making digital and emotional space for something better to take its place. All of the steps you take when splitting up have the potential to be painful, but they are all just steps toward healing and finding a new love.